A survey by the Institute for the German Economy in Cologne (IW) showed that one in six companies employing engineers had problems in staffing vacant jobs for engineers in the year 2006. In total there was 48.000 such vacancies which could not be staffed. The damage to the German economy caused by this situation is estimated by the institute to amount to at least 3.48 billion Euros.
According to the IW, one reason for the shortage of young engineers is a lacking enthusiasm for technical study courses. In fact, one proof to this could be the steady decline in the share of engineer students. Since the middle of the 1990s this share fell from 23.6% to 15.9% in the year 2005. In the meantime companies lack as many students as currently graduate each year, if one confronts 39.400 graduates in 2005 with the total number of vacancies not filled in 2006.
At the same time salary prospects for young engineers are great. According to the Sozio-ökonomisches Panel which is a yearly survey among more than 12.000 private households full-time engineers earn on average a yearly gross salary of 58.550 Euros which exceeds the average income of all the other full-time German employees by more than 20.000 Euros.
The strongest demand for engineers is in Baden-Wurttemberg where more than 12.000 vacancies could not be staffed in 2006. Most problems in finding suitable staff had research and knowledge-based branches of the German economy.
Anyone interested in getting to know more details about the lack of engineers may download the complete study for free from the IW´s website.